FCC Chairman, Commissioners Testify At House Oversight Panel
July 10, 2012 at 2:55 PM (PT)
The FCC Chairman and Commissioners testified before the House Communications and Technology Subcommittee at an oversight hearing on CAPITOL HILL TODAY (7/10).
Chairman JULIUS GENACHOWSKI concentrated on broadband growth and the "Mobile Action Plan" for wireless in his prepared remarks, while Commissioner ROBERT MCDOWELL directed his comments at spectrum auctions, calling for "simplicity, humility and restraint" in implementing the auction procedures and asserting that "band plans and auction rules should be minimal and 'future proof' so no innovation is preempted by government action and no market player is excluded from the opportunity to bid."
MCDOWELL also called for modernization of FCC rules, saying that the "newspaper broadcast cross-ownership rule is outdated, is contributing to a loss of voices in the media and should be largely eliminated," and called for the Commission to "clarify its indecency policy" and speed up processing of pending indecency complaints.
Commissioner JESSICA ROSENWORCEL focused on spectrum demands and said that incentive auctions would not meet the demand for spectrum, calling for innovation to "multiply the capacity of our airwaves," Commissioner AJIT PAI promoted the idea of "shot clocks" and sunset clauses to speed up regulation and also addressed spectrum needs by endorsing opening up more bands that can be used by commercial wireless broadband services, and Commissioner MIGNON CLYBURN outlined examples of government-private partnership initiatives in the development of new health care systems and devices for the disabled.
Much of the panel's attention was directed at GENACHOWSKI, who fielded several questions on the "repacking" of the TV dial with spectrum auctions and channel sharing from Rep. JOHN DINGELL (D-MI) and others. He also took heat from the panel for not streamlining regulation enough, although he asserted that the Commission had already cut about 200 regulations (which MCDOWELL noted include mostly rules invalidated by the courts or which are not being enforced). The panel also addressed minority and female ownership issues, prompted by Rep. MIKE DOYLE (D-PA), who discussed the loss of Urban WAMO in PITTSBURGH, with the prospect of the return of the minority tax certificate raised.